First National Bank Mobile eWallet A Success in Africa

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Written by Makula Dunbar

According to Biz Community, 2.5 million people across the African continent utilize eWallets, launched by First National Bank (FNB) in 2009. The digital monetary app allows users to send and receive money, and more easily access financial services.

Initially created for bankers in South Africa, the eWallet has seen substantial gains in Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Zambia and Lesotho. FNB’s chief executive Yolande Van Wyk said in the report that over the past year close to $326 million had been sent via eWallets in Africa.

Van Wyk also recognized the widening opportunity and demand for apps that allow people to instantly transfer funds to others.

“The growth of eWallet in the African subsidiaries has been a lesson in how local conditions (influence) how people adopt and use a service. We have noticed that Botswana and Namibia’s low population density contributes to the take-up‚” Van Wyk said. “With a population density of less than four people per square kilometer in both these countries‚ there is clearly a need to send money across a distance‚ and eWallet has fulfilled this need.”

She also noted that Namibia and Botswana’s growth had surpassed expectation with five percent of citizens and 17 percent of citizens using eWallet respectively, Biz Community reported.

“Also with the expansion of our ATM network‚ as well as new technologies such as the Slimline ATMs‚ we have the potential to grow the eWallet business even further across all countries‚” Van Wyk continued.

Ultimately, FNB would like the use of eWallets to subsequently grow the bank within regions that don’t have a noticeable presence. A cashless ATM called a Slimline ATM, Van Wyk added, also ties in with the use and future growth potential of the eWallet — especially in Zambia and Lesotho where eWallet use is less popular.